Biblical faith and political courage

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The latest issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly is out, and my column this week is a response to some comments objecting to my reference in last week's column to the Christian faith of the four reform-minded city councilors. An excerpt:

I think I understand the root of their objections. If you think of faith as just professing agreement with certain doctrines, then what I wrote would be irrelevant to the discussion. If you confuse faith with religion, then you might well wonder what a Councilorís position on the propriety of infant baptism, which foot to lead with when genuflecting, or whether musical instruments have a place in worship has to do with his performance in office.

But faith is more than reciting a creed or performing certain rituals. Faith involves confidence and trust. During a worship service you profess certain things to be true about Godís nature and character. During the rest of the week, your true faith--what you really believe about God and his dealings with you and the rest of the humanity--becomes apparent in the way you live your life, and particularly in the way you deal with adversity.

For that reason, what an elected official really believes about Godís nature and character affects how he conducts himself in office. Someone who has genuine confidence and trust in God as He is revealed in the Bible will have courage and persistence in the face of discouragement, danger, hostility, oppression, and injustice.

That's the gist of it; go read the whole thing, and feel free to post a comment.

Earlier in the week, Steve Denney of HFFZ posted some worthwhile thoughts on the matter:

To challenge a vested, powerful and ruthless political/financial machine is tough, thankless and risky work. A brief review of the personal attacks, including a lawsuit, that the Reform Councilors have had to endure should quickly disabuse anyone of the notion that they have been basking in power and glory at Tulsa City Hall. It is something beyond ourselves, religious faith, belief in the rule of law, a sense of fairness, or perhaps all three together that draw an individual to the cause of balanced representative government.

UPDATE: I've posted some responses from the blogosphere in this entry, and I'll add to it as more come in.

4 Comments

Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

I can tell you this. Since you have been editorializing, I have found myself anticipating each week's edition of the UTW. The best part, is that each editorial is calmly reasoned and deliberate, and with no animosity or belligerent undertones, which seems to be the norm around these parts lately. Even if one doesn't agree with what you say, the responder is obliged to be likewise, thoughtful and reasoned.

Jeff, thanks very much for the kind words.

susan said:

A lot of people in Tulsa absolutely refuse to read the Tulsa World. Their number of subscribers continues to go down. Ken Neal's opinion/editorial page is dreadful. I would not be surprised if many of their staff writers log in to Batesline each day just to read something decent. It's as though the Tulsa World must tell their staff writers, this is how we (the Lorton's and editorial staff that has worked there for a lengthy time) feel City Hall should be run. This is how we feel our City Councilors should vote. The Tulsa World has their cartoon writer draw absolutely horrible
cartoons sometimes if they want to tear someone down they don't agree with. Even on the topic of evolution which an extremely small percentage actually believe in the evolution theory in the U.S., the zoo display allows evolution and other religious displays at the Tulsa Zoo which the Tulsa World accepts, but when Dan Hicks (an architect) tried to personally give a beautiful gift of art of the Creation Display and Mayor LaFortune supported the Creation Display along with many other Tulsans and Zoo Friend Members, even Walt Helmerich did approve of it at first --the Tulsa World
once again had to be negative about the entire situation pushing STRONGLY and the T.W. printed that "liberals" somewhere else in the U.S.
thought of the creation display as a "laughing stock". Should we care? The Tulsa World never bothered to point out how many were in FAVOR in Tulsa and were for the beautiful art creation display which would have only been one view along side the evolution display. What is Tulsa well known for? Being a liberal city? Absolutely not! TULSA is extremely well known worldwide as a city in the Bible belt that has Oral Roberts University, Rhema, Victory Christian Center, and many other positive influences that reach people in a positive way
and many times life changing behaviors for the good of mankind. Yes!
The Tulsa World could not handle the creation display so they came up with a "front page" push for "Friends of Religion" -- where the main focus was to force down our throats that this very small church with a very small number of people that actually attend there each week (small compared to Church on the Move, Victory Christian, and many other very popular churches in Tulsa County) is offended that the Creation display was accepted from Walt Helmerich and another board member and the Tulsa World pushes it so much strongly displaying as many negative
letters on Sundays, and then they put a few of the positive letters once in a while on less read days? It's no wonder why the Tulsa World keeps continuing to lose subscribers.

Urban Tulsa Weekly is available on the campus of TCC where college students can read Michael Bates refreshing news about what's really going on in Tulsa and why Tulsa citizens should wake up and be concerned! Bank of Oklahoma is suing in a loan deal gone sour, and the Tulsa World pushes once again BOK is a hero and is trying to help Tulsa out by putting their logo and gets naming rights on an Arena that is costing Tulsa County taxpayers almost $200 million?

sbtulsa said:

i agree familiarity with the Bible is a plus for elected officials. both as a guidepost to the majority, and as comfort for the minority who continue a battle on specific issues. i don't know which is tougher, keeping your center and morality when you're the majority or keeping your faith and energy when outside the majority.

i do know that we have four councilors who want the best for all the city, four who define their city as less than 100% of the land inside the corporation limit, and one who i can't figure out. i hope their constituants turn our Sullivan, Neil, Baker and Christiansen. Martinsen? i don't know yet.

i do know that if you have a room in your house that is not what you want it to be, you don't just shut the door and ignore it. you paint it, clean it just like the rest of the house, and gradually bring to where you want it. or you just redecorate if you have the money. the above four counselors i mentioned as "turn outs" apparently want to shut the "door" on north and west Tulsa in terms of police, streets, etc. i have not seen any of them join forces with medlock, mautino, turner, and henderson to craft a budget and capital program that will upgrade streets, water and sewer, and police coverage on the north and west sides. it would seem to me that simple scriptural love and compassion for the residents of those areas would lead to a unanimous vote for the spending i mentioned.

finally, christian principles help us to fight simple greed. the only attraction for the downtown icon (i will call it the i cont from here on out because i don't think it can be built for near what mayor bill says it can) that i can see as opposed to the river developement is personal gain or prestige. back room deal making in other words. i hope the four deal makers develope a sense of guilt soon.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 2, 2005 12:20 PM.

6th Street Infill Plan before TMAPC today was the previous entry in this blog.

Faith and political courage is the next entry in this blog.

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